BBB warning Hoosiers about Instagram scam

INDIANA – Better Business Bureau is warning Hoosiers about an Instagram scam involving a scammer hijacking your Instagram account and requesting you make a video to regain control of the account.

How the scam works 

It all starts by receiving an Instagram direct message from what looks like a person whom you follow. They may ask you to take a survey to help with a new job they just got, or they may tell you to “check out this cool video,” or some other message. It contains a link that they want you to click. What you may not realize is, your friend’s account has been hacked by a scammer who is looking to hijack your account as well. If you click the link sent by the scammer, posing as your friend, your Instagram account will also be compromised. That scammer then notifies you that in order to regain access to your account, you must film a video stating you have invested in some type of cryptocurrency and encourage your followers to do the same. Recording the video for the scammer to post may, or may not, actually, get your account back, and in the meantime, the scammer is reaching out to your followers via direct message, pretending to be you, with a malicious link that is encouraging them to invest in cryptocurrency. 

How to protect yourself from social media scams 

  • Be wary of online messages. Sometimes friends share things without checking them out first, and online accounts can be hacked. Take a closer look before sharing, applying, or donating.  
  • Contact your friend outside of Instagram, to see if they really sent you the message. 
  • Do some research. Go to to see if something like this is being reported in your area. 
  • Press for details. Ask strategic questions without giving any personal information to confirm you are actually talking to someone you know.  If your “friend” can’t give you straight answers, leave the conversation, block them and then change your account settings as well as your password. 
  • Check your friends list. If you’ve gotten a friend request from someone you think is already your friend, check your friends list to see if this could be a duplicate, fake account.  
  • Report suspicious activity. Report scammers and impersonations to help protect your real friends and family from a scam. You can reduce the risk of having your profile impersonated by tightening up your privacy settings and hiding your Friends list. 

If you are thinking about investing in cryptocurrency, here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

Tips to help avoid cryptocurrency investment scams 

  • Do not say “yes” to cryptocurrency stock purchases from an aggressive cold caller, even if the claims sound plausible, particularly if the recommended stocks are very low-priced. Don’t feel guilty about hanging up. Not answering at all, or hanging up the phone, are generally the best and safest responses to a cold caller or anyone aggressively pitching low-priced stocks or other investment opportunities. 
  • Be suspicious of anyone who makes guarantees that an investment will perform a certain way. Also, be wary of pushy sales pitches that encourage you to “act now.” 
  • Research opportunities before investing. Use FINRA BrokerCheck® to the check registration status of, and for additional information about, the people and firms who tout these opportunities. 
  • Find out whether a company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Check the SEC’s EDGAR database. Read the reports and verify any information you have heard about the company. But remember, the fact that a company has registered its securities or files reports with the SEC doesn’t mean that the company will be a good investment in general—or the right investment for you. 

See BBB’s Cybersecurity Resources page and our cryptocurrency tips at

Check out the National Cyber Security Alliance’s Privacy Tips, including special information for teens, parents, older adults, mobile users, and more. 

If you or someone you know comes across this or any other type of scam, please report it to 

ABOUT BBB SERVING CENTRAL INDIANA: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB serving Central Indiana, which was founded in 1916 and serves 46 counties.